SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A very special wedding -- more than 40 years in the making -- took place Friday night.
Judith Woods and Ralph Foote exchanged vows at the Shaker Gardens Nature Center around 6:30 p.m. surrounded by loved ones.
The couple first met at a party when they were just 19 years old. They became fast friends and stayed close through the years and other relationships.
Then in 2004, when they were both single again -- Ralph had gotten divorced and Judith’s husband had passed away -- they started “hanging out” more often.
“We were just hanging out, and then it became more hanging out, then we fell in love and now here we are,” said Judith.
But soon after their romance began, they faced a serious of health crises.
Ralph suffered a stroke and heart attack and faced several other critical illnesses.
But Judy never left his side. Instead she became his caretaker through rehabilitation, dialysis treatments and diabetes.
“She does everything,” said Ralph.
Ralph is a patient at Crossroads Hospice in Valley View.
The volunteers and staff are so fond of the couple they wanted to do something special for them.
“Crossroads said, if she wanted to get married…we can make it happen,” said Rodney Bowden, Judith’s son. ”With him in a wheelchair she’d have to go downtown, but people at Crossroads came in, the social worker came in, the volunteers, the chaplain, they all put this together, and it’s been great.”
Bowden is also a Hospice employee, and Judith is a retired Hospice aide.
The entire wedding was planned and donated by Crossroads including the flowers, balloons, other decorations and wedding cake.
The couple doesn’t know what the future holds, but they do already practice unconditional, unwavering and unshakable love.
“It’s like one of those things you never know what will happen in life,” said Jocelyn Foote, Ralph’s daughter.
“I’m happy for him, happy for Judy,” said Tiffany Foote, Ralph’s daughter. “I hope they’re happy together for a very long time.”